Part of this series of conversations I’ve been releasing in my podcast, as well as the regular weekday episodes have been about how we’re doing right now during this time. A career in the creative field right now is tenuous it seems, freelancing even more so.
Another reason for this series is meant to be for those of us who are really starting out or don’t have an idea of what to do, or people like me who have come to it later in life. We’re beginners. We need direction. We need encouragement. We need solidarity.
This is something that’s been stuck in my head in one form or another for a little while, and there’s a little bit of a thread here so I hope you’ll bear with me. Years ago I did a limited run podcast called The Peaceful Pirate, which led to a kind of manifesto, I guess you could call it. The gist of it was that you didn’t have to participate in the game everyone else is playing. You can opt out. You can try to live live on your own terms, doing what you love to do. For the most part, that’s still true. Look around you, the creative economy has — almost by necessity — risen up and may overtake the third economic age, The Information Age, within the next 20–25 years. That’s great, but in the rising popularity of the creative economy, there’s been a shift on the playing field. For cultural and political reasons the pirates have become the Navy, there are more new sailors than ever, which means we need to sail under a new covenant. We celebrate the beginners. We show them the ropes. We encourage them. We offer honesty but not cruelty. We stand with them.
The passing of knowledge from people to people, from generation to generation has been with us almost as long as we’ve had the ability to communicate. The cave paintings gave future tribes information in a rudimentary way, through storytelling. How to hunt. What berries and plants not to eat. How the meat and fire join together. When to plant, when to harvest. That passing of information, of wisdom, became storytelling. Then as language became more intricate we were able to tell more stories. We carved the stories of pharoahs on the walls of their tombs and told the story of their reign as something to emulate, or avoid. The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius was more of a personal diary to remind himself of things, but future generations benefit from his wisdom. Gutenberg democratized the possession of what was considered the ultimate knowledge at the time, and storytellers and academics have made good use of the written word as time passed from them to the current day.
When you arrive at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois you’re generally handed a couple of things. One of them is your ass, but soon after you arrive, there’s a book you receive. This book is the basic handbook for naval recruits and its called The Bluejacket’s Manual. Fundamentally, everything a new recruit needs to know in order to succeed can be found in that book. So much so, that when wartime made a shorter training period a necessity, new sailors were told to get to know that book well on the way to their fleet assignment. Whereas the Pirates Code could vary from ship to ship or voyage to voyage, and could be occasionally fudged a bit here and there depending on the pirate, the bluejacket’s manual is meant to be a standard for junior enlisted sailors across the board. It’s for learning the history, the rules, and the discipline needed to be a good sailor. Wisdom is dispensed, expectations are set. A possible future comes into view.
So it is with a the person of any age who is starting a career as a creative. Your area of focus may differ from someone else, but that’s just a rating. The foundation is the same, and we all need a place to start. There are a million podcasts out there for the established creative, and almost none for the beginner.
I want to be that podcast, and I want to be that person.
My name is Roley, and I am the Bluejacket Creative.